Volume 33 Issue 17 - 12 November 2021

Message from the Principal

Dear Parents and Friends of St Patrick’s College

Sue Lennox - Principal

It is hard to believe that there are only four weeks left of term. Staff are busy preparing reports and finalising marks, girls are completing assessments and getting back into the rhythm of school and slowly but surely the wider community is once again able to get out and about to be with family and friends from across the state. For the first time, we can dare to dream of life getting back to normal.

I have recently finished reading a book titled ‘Black Box Thinking’ by Matthew Syed. Throughout the book, the author is driving the message of the importance of failure and the value it brings in creating opportunities for improvement and growth. He compares the approach taken by the airline industry, where they very publicly scrutinise and interrogate their systems to identify the reason for their failure, to the medical industry which in stark contrast shows a strong reluctance to take any responsibility or accountability for situations where there has been some failure on their part.

No one likes to fail or see their hard work or effort unrewarded with the results that were expected. It is equally hard to impress on our students that to fail is an important experience as it is through failing that you will be confronted with the areas or actions that will need your further attention. For many of our girls, they equate failing with letting their parents and teachers down and they struggle with the belief that their results are an indication of their intellectual capacity. In this sense, a failure or poor result is not a reflection of the work completed but of them as a learner.

We have regularly encouraged the girls to step out of their comfort zone and be ambitious in their learning, but for some this is too risky. What if they get it wrong? What if their marks slip? To be able to embrace failure, girls need to feel it is safe to try something different. Girls need to be supported and encouraged in their endeavours and girls need to accept that it is through practice, honing their skills and persistence that excellence is achieved not by sheer intelligence. If girls approach their learning with a growth mindset, they have the capacity to achieve beyond their expectations.  I encourage you to discuss a growth mindset with your daughter and urge her to keep persisting in her efforts to do her best.

As we make our way to the end of the year, invariably we have some movement of staff in preparation for the new year. I sadly accepted the resignation of Mrs Louise Ibbett this term. Louise has been working as an Assistant Principal in a south coast high school for 2021 and has accepted a permanent position there from 2022. Louise had been at St Patrick’s for 32 years. In that time, she has held several positions and influenced the culture of St Pat’s to what it is today. Louise is a passionate educator who was always motivated to do the best for the girls. We wish her well in her new position and thank her for her faithful and loyal service of the College.

Mrs Eileen Kelly has also decided to retire from the College at the end of this year. She has been at the College for the last 13 years and has been wonderful in supporting and enabling all girls with diverse needs to access the learning and achieve their potential. Many families found in Eileen an advocate for their daughter who would champion their needs and ensure they felt valued and experienced success. We wish Eileen a very happy retirement and thank her for her tireless work over the years.

Finally, we went through the Cease of Operations Policy with the girls through the week. We will use this policy should we have a confirmed case of COVID onsite. The policy can be accessed by clicking on this link. The main points are that you will receive an email and text message alerting you to the email. You will be able to pick your daughter up from the College if this is possible for you. The College will be opened so that cars will drive through the site, as previous practice, to collect their daughter. Girls will be waiting in the MSC carpark for you. Parents will not be able to alight from the car but will need to wait for their daughter to come to them. Staff will be supervising the collection. Those who walk, or use the private bus or travel home with siblings will be dismissed. The remainder will stay in homeroom until it is dismissal time. Hopefully we won’t need to action this policy, but it is better to be prepared and thus safe.

I will leave you with a short reflection as told by a monk on the highs and lows of our struggle to live a meaningful life:

A young monk approached an elder and said “Try as I might to be  good tempered, chaste and sober. I keep on sinning.” The older monk replied “Brother, the spiritual life is this: I rise up and I fall down. I rise up and I fall down” the young monk stayed and persevered.
 (How to Live by Judith Valente)

Blessings

Sue Lennox - Principal

 

All Souls' Day

As you would be aware, Halloween was celebrated by many in Australia last Saturday evening. In the Catholic Church, this is close to the time we remember and pray for those who have died. Monday 2 November was All Souls’ Day when Catholics are urged to pray for the souls of their fellow believers who have died, to help them be cleansed of their past sins that prevent them from getting to heaven.

Remembering the dead has been a practice throughout Christian history and All Souls’ Day is considered a Holy day. In countries such as the Philippines and Mexico there are 2-3 days of holidays related to remembering and praying for the dead. In the Philippines, this day is observed as part of a two day public holiday called Undas which also incorporates All Saints’ Day falling on 1 November. Each year, people in the Philippines flock to their family plots in cemeteries across the country. They also use this holiday to hold a family reunion where groups of an extended family gather together.

The day is filled with music and food. There is also prayer and religious traditions. At the end of the day, people will often camp overnight in the cemetery to pay their respects to their dead relatives. Visitors remark that Filipinos are remarkably at home among their dead ancestors.

Filipinos are known for having great respect for their dead. To prepare for Undas, families will visit the graves of their ancestors before the holiday to clean up the area and perform maintenance. During the holiday, people will decorate the graves with flowers and candles. The cemeteries will come alive during this period.

In addition to these traditions, other Catholic traditions are also observed. Many cemeteries will hold a special mass during the day. The rest of the day is often marked by periods of prayer and the recitation of the Litany for the Dead.

This holiday is a mix of the observance of the dead and a joyful holiday. Families bring plenty of food and drink for their dead relatives. Some believe that the deceased are taking part in the feast alongside the living. While most bring food directly to the cemetery, other families will also leave food at home on altars for any relatives who aren’t buried in the cemetery.

While in the United States of America it was observed that All Souls’ Day would be even more significant this year due to the many thousands of Catholics who have lost loved ones due to the pandemic and they have not been able to properly farewell or remember them.

In Year 9 Religious Studies, the students will learn about the significance of these events and the importance of remembering and praying for the dead. The students view Coco, an animation about the Mexican practices of this kind. They will then work through some activities that encourage this prayer and reflection in the Catholic tradition. Our sacred text, the Bible, will be consulted and analysed. One such extract is that from the Old Testament book of Sirach(Chapter 38: 16-23) on “Mourning the Dead”. It reads as follows:

My son, let your tears fall for the dead,
    and as one who is suffering grievously begin the lament.
Lay out his body with the honour due him,
    and do not neglect his burial.
Let your weeping be bitter and your wailing fervent;
    observe the mourning according to his merit,
for one day, or two, to avoid criticism;
    then be comforted for your sorrow.
For sorrow results in death,
    and sorrow of heart saps one’s strength.
In calamity sorrow continues,
    and the life of the poor man weighs down his heart.
Do not give your heart to sorrow;
    drive it away, remembering the end of life.
Do not forget, there is no coming back;
    you do the dead no good, and you injure yourself.
“Remember my doom, for yours is like it:
    yesterday it was mine, and today it is yours.”
When the dead is at rest, let his remembrance cease,
    and be comforted for him when his spirit has departed.

Louise East - Religious Studies Coordinator.

The Word of God is always near to us

Each year our newly arrived Year 7 girls receive a Bible as a gift from the College. These Bibles are gifted to our girls for use in Religious Education lessons. It is also a form of blessing to have an actual Bible in one’s possession. I believe that many of our girls bring their Bible home and display it in a special way and place. Giving respect and prominence to Christianity’s Sacred Text is a reminder for us that our God’s Word is Truth and Life. The Bible is for us a guide to living a good life; it contains prayers and rituals; its messages inspire us; it is God revealing God’s Self to us; it is a profound way of encounter with God. St Benedict devised the “Lexio Divina” (“sacred reading”) method of reading the Bible so that the encounter is a profound and real experience.

If you have ever stayed in a hotel anywhere in the world, you would be aware that there is a Bible in every hotel room. These Bibles are provided and distributed by the Gideons Bible Society, which is an international, not for profit organisation whose aim is to give access to the Bible to as many people as possible—free of charge. Each year, the Gideons Bible Society offers St Patrick’s College the gift of  their Pocket Testaments. The Pocket Testament, as the name tells, is a pocket-sized version of the New Testament (not the entire Bible) which includes also the Book of Psalms and the Book of Proverbs. It has a distinctive red cover. These Pocket Testaments are usually offered by the Gideons Bible Society to Year 7 students in all Australian schools. At St Pat’s, since our Year 7 girls receive the Bible, we invite the Gideons Bible Society to visit us in Term 1 to offer the Pocket Testaments to our Year 8 girls.

This week, during an RE lesson with my 8RE05 class, I was thrilled to be told by Maya M, Georgia O, and Scarlett N, that they had their Pocket Testaments with them! That moment is captured in the photograph. This thrilled me because these three girls are using the Pocket Testament for the very purpose for which it is designed—to be easily carried around all of the time. What an amazing thing: to have the Word of God close at hand all of the time.

Angelo Gattone - Mission Coordinator

Get organised

Getting a head start for 2022

The end of term 4 is fast approaching and now is the time to celebrate your successes and examine those areas where improvement can be had.

Whether you consider yourself an exceptional student who excels at absolutely everything (is there really such a person), or someone who leaves room for improvement (which, to be honest is all of us), now is the time to really sit down and plot those improvements.

Have a good look at your subjects. How well did you do? Were those weak areas the result of not fully understanding the topics, were they poor time management when completing assessments, or not being truly focussed when studying for that test?

If you didn’t fully understand the topic, go back and re-read your class notes, look at the examples and try some practice ones. Sometimes it even helps to work backwards. Look at the answers and work through the steps they took to get there. Quite often, it might not be the entire process you don’t understand, simply one step. If all else fails, contact your teacher and ask for some clarity.

If your problems lie with poor time management and focus, print yourself an organiser or work from a diary. Allocating time to a task, be it homework, study or assessments, is imperative to success. However, it is important to be realistic. Planning to work a 4 hour block on a task with no breaks is doomed before it starts. Be honest with yourself. You know if you can devote 60 minutes to a task or if you need a break after 30 minutes. Give yourself a short break to visit the bathroom or check your phone.

Eliminate distractions when you are working. This means no TV, and definitely no phone. Put the phone on silent and in a drawer. You can check it in the break. Have a designated area where you can spread out and work. The dining room table isn’t great when dinner needs to be served.

Write down your goals. Put them on A4 paper and plaster them on your mirror or walls. Give yourself credit. Positive affirmations do wonders for your self-esteem. Aim for a realistic goal. 70% in my maths test, “YOU’VE GOT THIS’, is a positive thing to wake up and see each morning. Believe in yourself!

Between now and the start of the 2022 school year, get your folders organised and your study notes up to date. Re-read your study notes. Make new notes from your notes. Read those notes aloud; by doing so you are not only reading them but also hearing them. Record yourself reading them and play them back whilst going for a walk.

2022 will be here before you know it. Only you can prepare yourself so you can do and be your best. Remember that your parents, your teachers and the library staff are always available if you need assistance.

CAPA Community Initiative - THE POST-IT NOTE SHOW

A few weeks ago we launched the CAPA Community Initiative, The Post-it Note Show. The intent behind this initiative was to unite the College community after being removed from the College site and each other for so long, whilst learning remotely in lock-down. 

Our first batch of Post-it Note Artworks on exhibition at the College Library

Students united in their Pastoral classes via Zoom initially this term to make their mini post-it note artworks and many staff and family members participated too. Now we are all back at the College, the idea of this growing mini art exhibition is building momentum. We now have our first batch of Post-it Note artworks on display in the College library windows for viewing, and we have a dedicated Post-it Note Show website to display the positive thoughts and wonderful talents of our students, staff and family members. 

We continue to invite students, staff and family members to contribute to this initiative over the last few weeks of the term. Please visit the Post-it Note Show website for further details and to view the exhibition. 

As we near the end of the exhibition, we will commence voting for various awards such as the people's choice award and many more. 

Tarna Tannous - Acting CAPA Coordinator

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Planning Scholarships at UNSW & UNE

Applications are now open for Aboriginal scholarships at University of New South Wales and University of New England.

 

The four scholarships are aimed at increasing the Indigenous workforce in planning and public spaces, and ensures future planning work integrates the social, cultural, and economic impacts to Aboriginal communities. Applications for University of New England close 3 January 2022, applications for UNSW close 30 January 2022.

Webinar for parents and carers eSafety parent guide to digital technologies and mental health

The Council of Catholic School Parents NSW/ACT invites you to a free one-hour webinar designed for parents and carers of young people aged 10–18.

Details

Monday 22 November 2021, 7.30-8.30pm

It will cover:

  • what do to about accidental exposure to content about suicide, self-harm or eating disorders
  • using games, apps and social media to support mental wellbeing
  • the pros and cons of digital mental health platforms
  • strategies for young people to support friends online.

Registration

Questions should be directed to clare.dunstan@ccsp.catholic.edu.au

Resources

CCSP – guide to digital tech and mental health – A3 Poster

CCSP – guide to digital tech and mental health – A5 Flyer